Garment owners are set to propose a minimum wage of Tk 4,250 per month in today's meeting of the wage board.
“We have reached a consensus for Tk 4,250 per month. It is our proposal and the rest depends on the government,” Arshad Jamal Dipu, owners' representative on the wage board, told The Daily Star, while confirming his attendance in today's meeting, the final one of the six-member board formed on June 26.
The figure, however, is lower than the amount (Tk 4,680) he earlier conveyed to journalists.
The government might increase the amount slightly, as in previous cases, so the final amount is likely to be Tk 4,500, Dipu added. The new wage structure would take effect on November 1, regardless of the timing of its announcement by the labour ministry.
“If the minimum salary goes any higher than Tk 4,500, many small and medium garment factories will be in trouble as their financial bases are not too strong.” Moreover, the international retailers are not paying higher prices for the garment items, although the cost of production increased more than 13 percent over the last few years, he said.
Asked about possible labour unrest owing to the new wage being much lower than the workers' demand of Tk 8,114, Dipu said: “Everyone should act responsibly as the international garment business has now become very competitive.”
Meanwhile, Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir yesterday urged all to keep the readymade garment sector out of all kinds of subversive activities for the sector's commendable contribution to the economy.
“The country's per capita income stands at $1,044 and it was only possible because of the significant contribution of the RMG sector,” he said while addressing a group of fire-fighting officers recently recruited by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
BGMEA President Atiqul Islam said the new recruits will impart training in member factories of the association.
Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed said the government has been working based on four documents-- National Action Plan, National Tripartite Agreement, Compact and Bangladesh Action Plan--to revive the GSP to the US market.